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A New York State of Mindfulness

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Personal, Travel | 0 comments


Nolan Dalla in NYC 2015


We all need a park.

Each of us requires our own particular park bench, that profoundly personal place where we run off to, that temporary asylum away from it all, that emotional hideaway uniquely our own, that haven assuring some calm and comfort when we need it most.

Everyone’s park bench is a different place.  Some places are real.  Others are a state of mind.  For our parks need not be shaded by giant elm trees, nor blanketed by green grasses, nor lined by wooden benches tempting us with free therapy.

A quiet room.  The inside of a car.  A morning shower.  A private office.  A man cave.  A visit to a friend.  A barstool.  A favorite song.  A walk or a run.  A daydream.  These things have become alternatives to sitting in parks in most of our daily lives.  These are the far more practical and convenient, and for most of us the irresistible destinations we come to covet, granting us those rare moments to recharge physical batteries and nourish emotional sustenance.

Park benches and all its modern surrogates should be conduits for pursuing, if not achieving, mindfulness.

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Atlantic City’s Decline and Demise Summed Up a Two Minute Story

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Blog, Travel | 19 comments




The problem with kicking Atlantic City while it’s down and out is — the cruelty of overstating the obvious.

At the risk of doing so, this place is a living hell.

Then, there’s the troublesome issue of who ends up suffering the most.  Not the bankers or stockholders or organized crime or the state government which has milked the fuck out of what used to be a cash cow to the point of exhaustion and collapse.  They did fine.  They’ll survive.  Rather, it’s the thousands of innocent people who end up paying the ultimate price of such unbridled greed and institutionalized stupidity.

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The Top Ten Thai Restaurants in Las Vegas

Posted by on Jan 11, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 5 comments




I love Thai food.

It’s reasonably healthy and it’s delicious.  Thai food also is quite affordable, especially when considering the rich diversity of fresh ingredients and quality of care which goes into preparing each meal.  For slightly more than the cost of a hamburger and fries (gag reflex!), many Thai restaurants offer affordable lunch specials which are far better for you, taste good, and include lots of variety.  Lunch specials often run $7-10.  Dinners usually cost only a few dollars more.  Talk about a bargain.

A new Thai restaurant seems to open up here in Las Vegas just about every week.  According to one estimate, there are more than 200 Thai-themed restaurants in the city.  No other ethnic food has enjoyed such a rapid rise in popularity, not just here in Las Vegas, but just about everywhere across America.  Twenty years ago, only a handful of Thai restaurants existed.  Now, many American tastes are just as familiar with Pad Thai and Pad See-Ewe as pizza and fried chicken.

Ranking the best ten Thai restaurants in the city is quite difficult.  First, there are so many of them.  I estimate that I’ve only tried perhaps 60 to 70 Thai establishments (many more, if other cities are included), so my local rankings are admittedly incomplete.  Accordingly, popular websites such as Travel Advisor and Yelp can be excellent indicators of quality and consistency.  Rarely do the consensus rankings get it wrong.

Let’s do this “top ten countdown” in reverse order.  Here are my top ten Thai restaurants in Las Vegas.

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“All the News that’s Fit to Print”….and other trivial bullshit

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 4 comments




Let me be perfectly clear.

The right to artistic expression must be defended.

In all cases.  No matter what.  At any cost.  No compromises.  Without exception.

Artists are either free to express themselves, or they are not.  There’s no purgatory.  Like being “kinda’ pregnant,” there’s no “sorta’ free” category.  We’re either all free to write, draw, film, sculpt, paint, dance, sing, or whatever as we see fit.  Or….if any individual is denied that inherent right protected in all free societies or in any way becomes somehow forbidden to express what’s happening through official edict or by intimidation, then none of us really have any rights.  In essence, it just means we’re tolerated.

If someone paints a picture of the Pope with a penis in his mouth, each one of us must defend that artist’s fundamental right to free expression.  Not because we endorse it, or we approve.  In fact, we might think it’s crude and terribly inappropriate.  But the right of that artist must be protected, as well as defended whenever threatened.  In all cases.  No matter what.  At any cost.  No compromises.  Without exception.

Am I making myself clear?

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Poker’s Version of the Oscars: “And the American Poker Award goes to….”

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Blog, General Poker, World Series of Poker | 0 comments




Alexandre Dreyfus thinks really big.

He’s in the process of uniting what’s been a terribly fractured industry up until now, a mishmash of varied and often conflicting personal and corporate interests lacking unity on just about every issue that’s critical for growth.  He’s become a truly transformational figure within our business who’s not only doing lots of good for poker, but is also striving to elevate the game’s global stature, thereby reconstructing our own ambitions with the same polished allure normally reserved for sports and popular entertainment.

Dreyfus, via the Global Poker Index (GPI), has already performed some really amazing deeds, particularly with his command of the European Poker Awards, which just completed its 13th year.  Everyone who is anyone on the European poker scene attends the annual ceremony.  Well, he’s now ready to bring similar enthusiasm and grandeur over to the United States, with a long-overdue concept to be called the “American Poker Awards.”

All I can say is — it’s about time.

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Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to….

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Blog, Uncategorized | 2 comments




Scattershooting, while wondering whatever happened to Danny Villanueva.

He was the placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys during the mid-1960s.  A lot is made of African-Americans and civil rights advances during that era.  But Villanueva broke down some serious racial barriers of his own.  He became the first notable Mexican-American professional football player, and was the game’s only Latino during that era, either in the NFL or AFL.  His final pro game was the famous “Ice Bowl,” when Green Bay defeated Dallas in the 1967 NFL Championship game, which was played in sub-zero temperatures.  The photo above shows Villanueva kicking a field goal in that game.

What makes Villanueva such a compelling story this week?

Read on….

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Deal Them In! James Woods, Richard Roeper, and Craig Carton Headline “Poker Night in America” at Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Blog, General Poker | 3 comments




James Woods says, “deal me in.”

The renowned actor and three-time Emmy winner will participate in “Poker Night in America’s” upcoming high-stakes cash game, taking place at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, January 16-19.

Woods, who is best known for his memorable film roles in The Onion Field, Once Upon a Time in America, Salvador, Nixon, Ghosts of Mississippi, Hercules, as well as the television series Shark, is a two-time Academy Award nominee.  When he’s not working in front of the cameras, Woods can often be found playing poker in his spare time, one of his fondest passions.  Given his strong political views, including a recent spat with Rev. Al Sharpton which made national headlines, Woods is sure to deliver another performance that’s well worth watching.

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Golden Nugget Atlantic City Hosting the Next “Poker Night in America”

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Blog, General Poker | 0 comments




Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget hosting “The Grand Poker Series, ” topped by $1K buy-in Championship (Jan. 16-19)


“Poker Night in America” is coming to New Jersey for the first time.

The popular television series now entering its second season on the CBS Sports Network, will soon be filming at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City.  The championship event, a $1,000 (+125) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament takes place Jan. 16-19.  There will be four starting flights, with a re-entry option.  Flights A and B take place on Friday, Jan. 16.  Flights C and D take place Saturday, Jan. 17.

The final table will be live streamed online and filmed for television.  The final table will be played on Monday, Jan. 19th.

Satellites for the championship will run every night.

This attraction is part of a new tournament extravaganza, called “The Grand Poker Series.”  Daily and nightly events will run Jan. 10-19.  The full schedule can be viewed here:  THE GRAND POKER SERIES AT THE GOLDEN NUGGET ATLANTIC CITY

Special hotel rates are available for all poker players.  Please visit here to book a room:  GOLDEN NUGGET ATLANTIC CITY OFFICIAL SITE 

For information about qualifying for a championship seat at 888poker, please visit:  America’s Got Poker! Poker Night in America is Coming to New Jersey 

Two days of cash games will also be filmed on location at the Golden Nugget.  An announcement about the lineup of players and guests will be announced soon.


To learn more about “Poker Night in America,” please visit:


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